Somethin' Special

Cinnamon rolls have always been something special in our family. My mom made them for special occasions (Christmas, special Sundays, coming home from college), and even if it wasn't a special occasion, the cinnamon rolls made that morning special.  When they were made from scratch, it was quite the process involving lots of time and a large Tupperware bowl. Later on, the introductions of the breadmaker and Pillsbury Hot Roll mix made the process much easier and less time comsuming.  Every time I have them, I'm taken back to growing up and special occasions. Other cinnamon rolls from a restaurant, from other kitchens, or from a tube just don't measure up.

I saw this recipe a few months ago and was hesitant (see above). But last weekend, Steve, sister-in-law Asheley, and brother-in-law Tom ran a 5K. I thought "What better time to make calorie-laden cinnamon rolls than to celebrate after a race?!" I started the night before since I decided to try a recipe from scratch, popped the dough in the fridge overnight, and then rolled them, raised them, and baked them off the next morning. Yes, it was a lot of work, but I'd do it all over again! Or at least take the ones out of the freezer and re-heat those.

A few things I would do differently...
~ After I let the dough rise the evening before, I forgot to mix in the additional flour and leavening. I tried doing it the next morning, but it got too punched down and the first batch I did the next day didn't rise well. Next time I'll try harder to remember to mix it the evening before.
~ I used 9x13 foil pans since I knew I'd be freezing most of them and I squeezed 15 into each pan. While they are nice and gooey, they're also pretty dense. I'd limit it to 12 in a pan next time.
~ Scald the milk in a large soup pot/stock pot. I did it in a sauce pan, but ended up getting a second pan dirty when I had to transfer it anyway. I don't like having to do more dishes than necessary.

Cinnamon Rolls
Adapted a very little bit from The Pioneer Woman

Cinnamon Rolls
1 quart (4 cups) Whole Milk
1 cup Vegetable Oil
1 cup Sugar
2 packages Active Dry Yeast (not Rapid or Fast-Acting)
8 cups + 1 Cup All-purpose Flour, divided
1 teaspoon (heaping) Baking Powder
1 teaspoon (scant) Baking Soda
1 Tablespoon (heaping) Salt
Plenty Of Melted Butter
2 cups Sugar
Generous Sprinkling Of Cinnamon

1 bag Powdered Sugar
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
3/4 cups Milk
1/4 cups Melted Butter
1/8 teaspoons Salt

Mix the milk, vegetable oil and sugar in a pan. Scald the mixture (heat until just before the boiling point). Turn off heat and leave to cool 45 minutes to 1 hour. When the mixture is lukewarm to warm, but NOT hot, sprinkle in both packages of Active Dry Yeast. Let this sit for a minute. Then add 8 cups of all-purpose flour. Stir mixture together. Cover and let rise for at least an hour.

After rising for at least an hour, add 1 more cup of flour, the baking powder, baking soda and salt. Stir mixture together. (At this point, you could cover the dough and put it in the fridge until you need it – overnight or even a day or two, if necessary. Just keep your eye on it and if it starts to overflow out of the pan, just punch it down).

When ready to prepare rolls: Sprinkle rolling surface generously with flour. Take half the dough and form a rough rectangle. Then roll the dough thin, maintaining a general rectangular shape - should be 12-18 inches x 24-30 inches. Drizzle 1/2 to 1 cup melted butter over the dough. Now sprinkle 1 cup of sugar over the butter followed by a generous sprinkling of cinnamon.

Now, starting at the opposite end, begin rolling the dough in a neat line toward you. Keep the roll relatively tight as you go. Next, pinch the seam of the roll to seal it.

Spread 1 tablespoon of melted butter in a 9x13 pan (you can also use round cake pans for smaller batches). Then begin cutting the rolls approximately ¾ to 1 inch thick and laying them in the buttered pans.

Repeat this process with the other half of the dough. Let the rolls rise for 20 to 30 minutes, then bake at 400 degrees until light golden brown, about 15 to 18 minutes.

For the frosting, mix together all ingredients listed and stir well until smooth. It should be thick but pourable. Taste and adjust as needed. Generously drizzle over the warm rolls.

Makes ~3 dozen cinnamon rolls


  1. Yes, I made them from scratch for many years but Hot Roll mix or the bread machine work pretty well too. :-). Glad you have great memories. Love, Mom

  2. Thanks they were delish and sooooo very yummy. Great for after my first 5K